A new generation of Para athletics stars has emerged at last year’s World Championships in Dubai, UAE. Tokyo 2020 will see them in action together with Paralympic champions making a comeback to major events.
Here are some of the names to keep an eye on!
Ntando Mahlangu (RSA)
From the Nottwil 2017 World Para Athletics Junior Championships to the 2019 Dubai Worlds, Ntando Mahlangu has settled new world records and surprised with his attitude and sport quality.
The 19-year-old will compete in his second Paralympic Games. In Rio, Mahlangu won silver in the 200m T42, but fell in the 100m final. It is time for revenge for the South African at the Tokyo Olympic Stadium track.
Petrucio Ferreira (BRA)
The Brazilian set the two fastest times ever in a 100m race of a major Para athletics championships, including a new World Record time of 10.42 seconds at Dubai 2019.
Tokyo 2020 will be Ferreira’s second Games and expect more speed and more records from him.
Markus Rehm (GER)
Three-time Paralympic champion long jumper Markus Rehm is going to Tokyo with the gold a new world record on his mind.
One of the top international stars of the Paralympic Movement, the German has extended his unbeaten run with a world title in the long jump T64 at the 2019 World Championship.
Tomoki Sato (JPN)
Nicknamed Tomochan, Sato took on the sport inspired by the London 2012 Paralympics that he had watched on TV. Eight years later, he will be competing at home as one of Japan’s biggest gold medal hopes.
Sato left Rio 2016 with two silver medals, in the 400m T52 and 1500m T52. But since then has taken gold in both events at the London 2017 and Dubai 2019 World Championships.
Jaryd Clifford (AUS)
The 20-year-old long distance runner won gold medals in the 1500m T13 and 5000m T13 at Dubai 2019, where he also settled a new World Record of 3:47.78 in the 1500m final.
At Rio 2016, Clifford finished seventh in both races. Four years on, he comes to Tokyo as the man to beat.
Omara Durand (CUB)
With eleven world titles, Durand has dominated the tracks since her Paralympic debut. Cuba’s runner last loss came at the Beijing 2008 Paralympics.
Last year, Durand received a deserved recognition from the Lima 2019 Parapan Am Games Organising Committee and the Americas Paralympic Committee for her successful career, leaving her handprints next to the ones of Olympic legend Usain Bolt in the Athletics Stadium of the Peruvian capital.
Tatyana McFadden (USA)
One of the best female wheelchair racers of all time, Tatyana McFadden has 17 Paralympic medals to her name, including seven gold, since her debut at Athens 2004.
After focusing on major international marathons for the last two seasons, she will be back in Tokyo aiming for medals in seven different races – including the new mixed Universal Relay.
Hannah Cockroft (GBR)
Hurricane Hannah became a national star after taking two gold medals at her first Paralympic Games in London 2012. Since then, she has added other three Paralympic golds to her tally in Rio.
The class T34 wheelchair racer has tough competition at home with newcomer Kare Adenegan but showed she is hungry for more following her two gold medals at the Dubai 2019 Worlds – and a new world record in the 100m T34.
Leilia Adzhametova (UKR)
The vision impaired sprinter first made her mark in May 2016 at the Nottwil Grand Prix, beating South Africa’s reigning world champion Isle Hayes.
In Rio, she settled a new world record in the 100m T13 to take her first Paralympic gold. Since that, she has dominated the race adding two world titles to her name at London 2017 and Dubai 2019.
Cuiqing Liu (CHN)
China topped the Para athletics medals table at Rio 2016 with twice the amount of golds of second place USA.
Liu was responsible for two of those 32 gold medals, winning the 400m T11 and the 4x100m T11-T13 relay.
Last year, the Chinese topped again the medals table at the Dubai 2019 World Championships with another gold from the blind sprinter.